EIA Update July 2011

15th July 2011

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  • Resource extraction ,
  • Manufacturing ,
  • Construction



IEMA update on the latest EIA regulatory changes from Scotland and expected plans for legislation throughout the UK

New IEMA report

IEMA's report on the state of environmental impact assessment (EIA) practice in the UK will be published shortly, following a two-year research project. The report covers:

  • the basis of EIA practice in the UK;
  • its current state, from screening and scoping through assessment to outputs and outcomes; and
  • its future, setting out IEMA’s vision for UK EIA practice.

Regulatory front

On 1 June, the Scottish government launched the Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 2011. These replace those aspects of the 1999 EIA Regulations (and its 12 amendments) that relate to planning applications. The parts of the 1999 EIA Regulations related to roads (Part 3) and land drainage (Part 4) remain in force, however.

The main changes focus on the approach to assessing multi-staged consents and on screening, in particular determining whether an EIA is required for changes or extensions to development.

The Scottish government has also published a new EIA circular (3/2011) and a quick guide to the main changes in the 2011 Regulations. New English EIA Regulations are expected to be laid before parliament shortly and come into force in early August.

IEMA understands that the Regulations will be accompanied by a new 30-page “Guidance on the EIA Regulations 2011 for England”, which will replace the existing circular 02/99. IEMA has also learned that the new English EIA Regulations will take a different approach to the screening of changes or extensions compared with Scotland.

Consultation is expected to begin during this summer on new EIA Regulations in Wales, with the Welsh Assembly government aiming to bring them into force by the end of 2011.

In Northern Ireland, consultation on revised EIA Regulations is due to begin in the autumn, with the new Regulations coming into force early in 2012.

Revised Directive

The European Commission has indicated its intention to codify the existing EIA Directive (85/337/EEC) and its three amendments into a single new text during 2011. The process is designed to make the EIA Directive easier to read and is one of the steps being taken as part of the commission’s ongoing review. The only anticipated consequence of the consolidation for UK EIA practice is that practitioners will need to refer to the Directive under its new number once it becomes available. IEMA will keep members up to date on progress.


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